Firefighters, footballers, policemen and paramedics are among the targets of a new campaign launched today to boost the number of sperm donors in the Midlands.
Stocks of semen have fallen dramatically since a change in the law, which came into force in April 2005, meant donor anonymity would be lifted.
The amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) Act states that any child born as a result of donated sperm, eggs or embryos can trace their genetic parent through the HFEA's donor register when they turn 18.
Midland Fertility Services (MFS), based in Aldridge, Walsall, currently has to import donor sperm from centres in Denmark and the US, as well as clinics in London and Manchester, to meet client demand. Su Barlow, laboratory director at MFS, said: "Before last year's change in the law, a large number of donors came from the student community as it was an easy way for them to earn some beer money.
"But they're now worried about their identity being released and getting a knock on the door 18 years later.
"While any donors aged over 18 are welcomed, ideally we're looking for men aged between 30 and 40 who've completed their families and are motivated by altruism rather than making a quick buck.
"We've never had that many donors of our own before, because often we could get donor sperm from other centres.
"But since April 2005 reserves have fallen significantly across the country so we're having to actively recruit our own donors."
Posters will be seen around Walsall Football Club and in men's toilets at police, fire and ambulance stations, local health clubs and MFS.
Ian Hubbard, a Staffordshire Police officer, is the clinic's latest recruit who has become a regular donor, after his sperm has been fully tested.
The 38-year-old, who lives near Wolverhampton, made the decision shortly after he married his wife Debbie, 56, 14 years ago.
He said: "This was a joint decision between me and Debbie. She already had four grown-up children and had been sterilised but we were talking about various things and we both felt there could be nothing worse than being unable to have children, so we thought someone else should benefit from my healthy sperm.
"Then when our first grandson was born last year I felt really broody, so it was also a way of being involved in the process of giving someone the gift of life.
"I'm not worried about being traced in future because the percentage of children who try and trace their egg or sperm donor is incredibly small.
"But if someone does knock on the door in 18 years' time, I'll be happy to see them.
"That said, if any man is thinking of doing this you've got to have the family on board too - they've really got to be okay with the decision too."
Mr Hubbard began making weekly sperm donations at MFS last July but these will remain in quarantine until January when all the test results have been compiled.
"I think the anonymity issue has put a lot of people off because when I first contacted the clinic they were very surprised and pleased that a willing donor had rung in," added Mr Hubbard.
"If you can walk through the door and see all the couples waiting for treatment, you'll realise why being a donor is so important."
Men – gay or straight – aged between 18 and 45 can donate sperm
Donations from just 0.01 per cent of the fertile male population would satisfy the current demand for sperm in the UK but each year only 250 men donate sperm
Donors receive payment of about #15 per donation, plus any associated travel expenses
Would-be donors are screened for HIV, hepatitis B and C as well as any genetic conditions, sperm count and motility
For more information about becoming a sperm donor contact Midland Fertility Services laboratory staff on 01922 455911 or visit www.midlandfertility.com.